“Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.” (Acts 17:22 – 23)
There are many unknowns in the world. Sitting here thinking, I can think of endless topics of unknown things. Or more precisely, things (and experiences) that were unknown to me but/and are known now. And since I am writing this just after the supper hour, my thinking tends to focus more on food than other topics. But I will try not to digress!
One thing that has never been unknown to me, however, was the Lord God Divine. As a child, of course, I understood and knew about God as a child would. As I grew, my understanding of the Lord grew also. And, the Names I knew the Divine as multiplied too. I remember in high school learning about other religions, and thinking that from one perspective they were all paths to God, known or unknown.
“The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things.” (Verses 24 – 25)
Isn’t that an interesting concept, that the Lord God does not need to be “served by human hands” – think of that! The Lord God does not need us! Sort of puts a damper on some theological thinking. And starts a person thinking why the Divine created humanity in the first place.
“From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him–though indeed he is not far from each one of us.” (Verses 26 – 27)
I think that – the idea that the Divine is not far from each of us – is something that was taught to me at a very young age. The Divine was like a comfort blanket or cuddly toy that was a Companion to me from an early, early age. I cannot think of a time in my life when I did not have an awareness of a Lord God in some form or aspect.
“For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Verses 28 – 31)
Do not think, beloved reader, that having an awareness of the Divine was all and only comfort and security. As I have said on other occasions, I become aware that Jesus Christ was a Savior and Redeemer that I needed because sin was all around me! I knew of the “sins” that I had committed as a young child – because my mother was strict when I was young and kept a close eye on me. Oh beloved reader, the “little sins” of childhood dogged my small footsteps. And as I grew, the sins that I imagined I had committed grew too. Even now, EVEN NOW, beloved reader, I look over my life to see where I have gone astray. I am currently reading a book of Lent and Easter meditations by some theologically well-known people. I tell you, they are harsher judges than my mother was!
One of the things I learned however, just in time to save me from angst well into adulthood, was the Divine’s grace, and mercy & forgiveness. I sought that from a young age, cleaved to at as I grew, and dared to hope that I have achieved it only to be brought up short by a fiery “evangelist” who convicted me again once more of sin! (If you guessed Paul who was Saul fit that image from time to time, you are right!)
I can’t quite pinpoint the time or age when I laid down the burden of trying to measure up and be sinless. I remember a dream where I was carrying a huge, a HUGE boulder. I walked up to the Lord God and told the Divine I just couldn’t carry it anymore. I set it down at the Divine’s feet. And the boulder just melted away. There have been times in my mind I have brought a heavy burden to the Lord God again, and set it down knowing that it was the correct thing to do.
But, I get the sense I have wandered from Paul’s sermon to the Athenians. Not surprising. I have discovered that one thought leads to another when I am thinking about faith and spirituality issues. In the Divine I live and move, and have my being. May it be so for you also, beloved reader. Shalom and Selah!